Here is my best tip!
Start out using the Self-Hosted WordPress platform (not Blogger or free WordPress.com).
Yes, it requires that you choose and pay for a domain name and get a webhost to host your very own website. If there is any way you can swing about $100 a year (shop around-there are always great sales), then there are so many reasons to start with it.
- It’s your very own website. No one (such as WordPress.com or Blogger) can simply remove it at a whim.
- You can monetize. Some other platforms have rules about whether you can have ads, etc. If it’s your own, you can do what you want.
- You can use plugins. Plugins are only available through self-hosted WordPress, and they are awesome! You simply choose what you want, install it, and set it up with your personal settings. On my blog here, I have plugins that add the sharing buttons at the top of each post, add the Comment Luv feature for the comments, add a slider, search bar, pop-ups, and backs up my site through Vaultpress. See below for a list of my favorite plug-ins.
- You can use a free template. Since you just forked over the money to buy the domain name and get your website hosted, you might want to wait a bit before spending more money. You can use one of WordPress’s free templates.
- Then, when you’re ready, you can purchase Genesis which will make your website run more smoothly.
- After you have the Genesis Framework, you can pick out an awesome, fun child theme! These are what really can make it exciting to make your website reflect your personality–to change colors, layout, etc. without having to know how to do html coding or hiring a blog designer. I have used a Child Theme from Studiopress called “Adorable “. And now my favorites are from Restored316. I have “Darling” at Music in Our Homeschool and “Sprinkle” will be coming soon here at I Choose Joy!. See a few choices in these pictures:
- If you start out with WordPress at the beginning, you won’t have to worry about moving to it later on. I’ve known quite a few bloggers who have had to do it, and it’s a big hassle and can be expensive.
Website Hosting Choices:
My host is WP Engine. Love them!
Lots of my blogging friends love Bluehost:
Other hosts to check out:
Compare and see who has the best prices right now. 🙂
Here are some of my other best blogging tips:
- Join the Inspired Bloggers University and take some of Tabitha’s Philen’s self-paced online blogging courses. I’ve learned so much from her! I especially love her Blog Success Planner which guides and teaches you as well as being a planner and her DIY Blog Media Kit.
- Attend a blogging conference. The only one I’ve been to so far is the 2:1 Conference. I’ve gone twice and will be going again this year. I love it! It’s specifically for Christian homeschool bloggers. But there are so many choices! Find one that’s near you that fits your niche.
- Join Facebook groups where you can ask questions about blogging. Inspired Blogging Network is a big one. Search for one that fits your niche.
My Favorite WordPress Plugins:
- Akismet (stops spam)
- Comment Luv
- Fast Secure Contact Form
- Instagram Slider Widget
- Jetpack by WordPress.com (I don’t have everything activated, but I really like the Stats and use it way more than Google Analytics.)
- Jetpack Popular Posts
- Limit Login Attempts (limits hackers)
- Missed Scheduled (fixes problems with scheduling posts)
- Pinterest Badge
- Pinterest Image Pinner from Collective Bias
- PopUp by Supsystic
- Pretty Link Lite
- Replace Amazon Links in Feed with Post URL
- Revive Old Post (automatically tweets old posts)
- Scroll Triggered Boxes
- Shareaholic (adds sharing buttons)
- Simple Social Icons
- Social Stickers
- Subscription Options
- Twitterlink Comments
- Ultimate Nofollow (to add nofollow to affiliate links)
- Vaultpress (how I back up my blog/website)
- W3 Total Cache
- What Would Seth Godin Do (adds a message to the top of each post, good for affiliate disclosure)
- WP Affiliate Program (the affiliate system I use for the things I sell)
- WP eStore (how I sell items from my website)
- WP Smush
- Yoast SEO (to improve Search Engine Optimization on each post)On April 25 I participated in a live broadcast “skip” on Periscope. The other ladies and I (who are all established bloggers) shared our best tip for brand new bloggers. Tips on time management, WordPress, blog design, social media, earning income from your blog, and using Pic Monkey from Melanie Wilson, Gena Mayo, Lindsey Marie Garcia, Rebecca Spooner, Heather Bowen, and Amy Milcic. Follow me on Periscope @ichoosejoynow, http://periscope.tv/ichoosejoynow.
A few notes from the Homeschool Blogger Skip:
- Value Your Time (how can I streamline, find ways to trim time)
- Use the Best Tools (to save time and frustration: Post Planner, Tail Wind, Purchasing Adobe and a subscription for book-writing)
- Use a Schedule (Skedpal.net or com?, can’t just wing it)
Web Design Resources
- Child Theme: Restored316 is great place to
- Etsy: buy fonts, clip art to input into text boxes
How to Make a Full-Time Income With Your Blog
- Go to blog conferences.
- Charge for reviews. Change your approach that you don’t work for free anymore
- Ad networks. (Ad Thrive, The Blogger Network, Google Adsense)
- Sell your own products. (e-course, printables-use Publisher)
- Do your best work.
- Grow your email list, and do email marketing. (50,000 subscribers leads to full-time income, sell ad spaces, use affiliate links, e-blasts). Grow your email list through an awesome subscriber freebie. Pop-ups work. Have a subscribe box in the header. Nurture your list.
- Find out what your readers want. (Survey them, see which of your posts they respond to the most and write more of the same)
- Nurture your readers. Value them. Send something just for the subscribers that doesn’t go on the blog.
- Hire a VA (Virtual Assistant) before you can afford one.
- It’s a photo editor. Has tutorials. Free version. Or more options with Royale.
- Be careful what image you pick–make sure you have permission (take your own pictures). Read the fine print about permissions. Pixabay for free stock photos.
- She uses “Design” on Picmonkey the most. She showed us how to make a watermark
- Create a logo for branding, graphics, design custom call to action.
(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.)